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The Unexpected Value of Diversity and Inclusion

In this episode of One Next Step, I have a conversation with Tonia Benas, BELAY’s Talent Acquisition Recruiter and D&I Committee Co-Chair, and Beth Thompson, BELAY’s HR Generalist.

We talk about the importance and value of diversity and inclusion in business and explain BELAY’s journey to developing its own D&I Committee.

Listeners will feel motivated and inspired to make their workplace more inclusive, and they’ll have the strategies and resources to do just that.


Here are some takeaways they shared:


1. Embracing diversity and inclusion is just the right thing to do.

If companies want to attract top talent, that talent needs to feel included and a sense of belonging — both of which are major drivers of engagement.

When the team is more engaged, they are more productive. When they feel like they’re valued and their voice matters, they buy into the mission and bring more value to the company.

This is not only a way to attract better talent to your organization, but also a way to make the communities, businesses and relationships you’re in better.

2. Diversity and inclusion are about race, but it's about other issues, too.

It’s about the diversity of thought, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, pronouns – and more.

Two of our top core values are God and team. At BELAY, we truly hold to the idea that we’ve all been created in the image of God and therefore we all deserve to be valued.

All of those things matter and are important. All of us came from different places with different experiences. With D&I, we seek to learn about those experiences and each other.

If you achieve that level of engagement through inclusion and belonging, you’re not going to have to worry about retention. If your employees can bring their authentic selves to work, they will naturally be working from a place of strength.

3. Diversity and inclusion start by just having conversations.

This reveals where the pain points and gaps are that need to be addressed. After that, it’s important to be allies, do your homework, and champion others that bring different experiences and perspectives.

Even if you don’t have all of the answers, it’s important to get started and communicate throughout your company so that there is buy-in. That’s when it becomes a part of your culture – and not just a box you check.

You can certainly reach out to other companies to glean ideas, but you have to figure out what works best for you and cater to your specific company.

Start with the low-hanging fruit and then reassess going forward to ensure inclusion and belonging. It’s important to navigate how to make sure that once people are there, they feel wanted and included.


This episode’s resource is BELAY’s D&I Strategy Worksheet — a guide for you to work through to give you your tangible first step in your business's diversity and inclusion journey.